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Digging into the details, it seems this is largely a fork or adaption of the CryEngine, with all the advantages and disadvantages that brings.

As I said about Autodesk's offering, Stingray, I think that even a giant like Amazon is going to have an uphill battle bringing a new game engine into mass use. Having been testing game engines just this week, I'm reminded just how much of an ecosystem has built up around Unity in particular - displacing an engine with that is like displacing Wordpress as the dominant blogging engine.

It's early days yet but they've got some serious catching up to do. For example, it appears that 3D assets can only currently be created in Max and Maya (no Blender, no Cinema4d), as rather than using FBX or similar as an interchange format they're using their own custom formats with an exporter. Most other game engines stopped doing that a while ago, for good reason.

Likewise, the level editor is either underdocumented or feature-light. The docs currently just cover creating terrain and vegetation. I assume that the engine has the capability to handle non-outdoor scenes too, but it's not explicitly documented anywhere I can find in a quick look.

There's also no documentation on non-sky lighting, lighting builds, light types, or similar that I can find. There's one mention that the engine supports Global Illumination, but no details as to whether it's realtime or requires a bake process. Searching for "lighting", "lights", or "light" in the documentation returns no results!

Interestingly, there's a full-featured cinematics system, which means it's of considerable interest to me, but that's very much a minority thing.

I wish them luck and I'll certainly be checking it out, having said all that. Another fully open-source 3D engine is no bad thing.




> Another fully open-source 3D engine is no bad thing.

Small correction; it is not open source: https://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/faq/#Licensing


It is open source, but it's not FOSS.


From their FAQ:

> Q. Is Lumberyard “open source”?

> No. We make the source code available to enable you to fully customize your game, but your rights are limited by the Lumberyard Service Terms. For example, you may not publicly release the Lumberyard engine source code, or use it to release your own game engine.

So according to them it's not even "open source".


That's a contradiction "FOSS" encompasses the software which meets the (nearly-equivalent in practical application) FSF Free Software definition and/or OSI Open Source definition.

If it is open source software (which this is emphatically and expressly not), it is FOSS.


Software can be commercial and open source meaning you can read the code but you have to purchase a licence to make copies and/or use it - that's open source but not Free[-Gratis] Open Source Software (FOSS).


No, that's "source available" or "shared source", not " open source".


Although FOSS has a broad definition[1], most technical people refer to Free Software by the GNU interpretation, in which the Free in FOSS is "Free as in Freedom, not Free as in Beer". FOSS is generally considered a subset of Open Source software.

You can charge as much as you like for FOSS[2].

Open Source is not the same as Source Available[3].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open-source_software

2. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.en.html

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software#Open-sour...


The source is available but it's not "open source", more what Microsoft would call "shared source".


all the magic is in the word 'open', not the word 'source'. the source is available, but it's not open or free.


Good point.


I think your definition of open source is flawed.


Their own FAQ answer to “Is Lumberyard open source?” starts with “No.”


"Open source" generally means not only can you get the source code, but you can use it freely and make your modifications available to others. There's some wiggle room for exactly what qualifies there, but Amazon's terms are pretty far from any gray areas.


No, you're confusing open source and source available.


Blame the Open Source Initiative :)


So this was the secret deal which, according to rumors, saved Crytek. This is the second fork of the CryEngine that I know of (other is the Farcry fork of Ubisoft), and I find it interesting that they keep forking it instead of offering a library designed to work with it. I wonder if it says something about the codebase.


Another major engine fork is for Star Citizen / Squadron 42.

They've hired several ex-Crytek engineers at the Foundry 42 office in Frankfurt, and among other changes have modified the engine to support a 64 bit data in coordinate system and rendering, multithreaded physics, and independent physics grids for inside the larger ships while they're moving around. Probably other things, but those are the main ones.


This sort of thing is actually pretty common in games; you end up doing some engine customization to fit your needs, and eventually you have to say "We've diverged too far to try and keep following the main updates anymore," and you stick with a customized version of an old release.

Nearly every AAA game is going to fit into that pattern, it's just that the 64 bit coordinates overhaul in Star Citizen is probably a larger and lower level architectural change than what most things bother with.


> I wonder if it says something about the codebase.

Well, this is Amazon we are talking about - they like dancing to the beat of their own drum. They also forked Android.


Well, the meaty bits that make Amazon money are all separated out into a service called GameLift and the C++ SDK.


I don't think we're done making game engines. We're not done making blogging engines. Wordpress may be one of the largest incumbents but it's not the dominant platform and there are plenty of competing alternatives along every axis. Unity may be one of the current incumbents but it's not the best engine and won't be the last.

More competition is good. It means Unity won't be able to stand still and we'll get to see more features and interesting ideas. Cloud + Twitch integration? Pretty cool!


Oh, definitely not. We aren't at The Last Game Engine by a long way - but currently it's an uphill battle to introduce a new one, and I'm dubious this engine is differentiated enough to succeed.

There might be a lot of competing blogging engines, but there's only really about 3 that have any significant market share, and you can explain why each of them are has at least one radically superior feature to Wordpress in about a sentence and a half.


Shame about the 3D format supports. :(


They do seem to have some Alembic support: they ship the libraries as part of the engine download, in their 3rdParty folder.

Alembic is an open 3D file format supported by pretty much all the major 3D modellers these days - including Blender, Modo, Houdini, Cinema4D and plenty of others besides the Autodesk tools.


Oh, really? Now THAT is interesting.

Neither Unity nor Unreal currently support Alembic - this is the first indication I've had that the Amazon engine might have some features the others don't.

Thanks!


Seems like they could throw in Assimp[1] and have most of the common formats out-of-the-box.

[1] https://github.com/assimp/assimp


I've never been able to get Assimp to successfully load anything other than .obj format models, despite what they claim in their docs. Last time I tried was about two years ago though, so maybe it's improved since then.


I've used the .NET wrapper to load up quite a few different model formats. Sometimes it takes a little fiddling to get the right set of flags, because it seems like every model is setup just a little differently...


Huh, that's a very nice library I'd not seen before! Thanks.


Yea, which is a shame for them, as lots of the smaller shops starting out and actually deciding which game engine to use are likely to be starting with something like Blender. I don't even think 3DS Max exists anymore? Isn't it just Maya now?


3DS Max definitely exists. Autodesk is still supporting them, and not as a 'oh this is just an auxiliary side project'. The breakdown (oversimplified) is Maya is more for complicated models used in animation/CGI (MEL scripting is their 'killer' tool that puts it ahead of Max), while things like architectural and game models are mostly done in 3DS Max (but theres a lot of overlay between the two, i.e., I've seen tons of work done in game modelling on Maya LT).

Speaking of which, Maya LT is not that badly priced for what you get - I have no animation ability but I've seen my friends do some incredible things with it. If you're artistically inclined, have a play. Regardless, the lack of Blender support makes me sad.


All game studios I have worked at have used Maya. I do know of some that use Max but it's definitely not the case that Maya is only used outside of games.

As a side note, Maya added Python as a scripting language a while back. You can also write plugins in C++, which can be a nice way to write custom exporter code sharing engine code files for file formats and such.


Hmm, interesting question whether the exporter supports Maya LT. I'd guess it does, and it's cheap (ish).


3dsmax definitely still exist, although I wish Autodesk learned cloud pricing from Adobe because 240€ a month just for 3dsmax is way way too much, especially compared with Creative Cloud which is barely 60€ yet contains almost all their softwares.


Yup, Max still exists. I have it open on my desktop right now :)




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